Thanet council planning committee members are due to discuss an application for the Aldi store in Ramsgate to relocate to the former gas works site in Boundary Road.
The store has traded from its current site opposite the gas works for the last 20 years but bosses say a move would mean the chance to increase the size of the shop and provide more parking spaces.
Currently the store has 1.20 acres and wants that to increase to 1.70 acres – equating to a 1,900 sqm store. Parking spaces would go up from 70 to 118, including 6 disabled spaces, 11 parent and child and 2 active electric vehicle charging spaces.
The development will be on the eastern side of the former gasworks site and excludes the listed building. It will include a new pedestrian access onto St Lukes Avenue and involves the part demolition of the curtilage listed boundary wall for vehicle access, along with the soft and hard landscaping of the proposed car park area.
Amendments have been made to the original plans to enable the majority of the Hardres Road boundary wall to be retained. Shrubs and 14 trees will be planted and log habitat piles, bat boxes and sparrow boxes will be installed.
A pedestrian island and crossing point is proposed for Boundary Road. A legal agreement with Thanet council also requires an off-site financial contribution of £22,000 towards the provision of active electric vehicle charging spaces within Ramsgate car parks, with a claw-back of the contribution if not spent within 5 years of payment,
Planning permission has recently been granted for the redevelopment of the western part of the former gasworks site for residential use, including the change of use and conversion of the listed building to residential flats. Permission for two 4-storey blocks and conversion of existing building to provide 63 flats plus the building of seven 3-storey dwellings was granted on January 24.
The Aldi application will be discussed on March 18 with a recommendation for the application to be deferred and delegated to officers for approval, subject to the submission of an acceptable legal agreement securing the heads of terms above within 6 months and safeguarding conditions.
The gasworks were built in 1824 and had six gasholders. Originally it was on the other side of Boundary Road, where Aldi now is, then operated on both sides before being completely moved to the site were the red brick office and clock still stands.
It was taken on by the Local Board in 1877.The local Board and later Ramsgate Corporation ran the site until 1949.
On nationalisation in 1949 the undertaking became part of the Thanet Group of the Kent County Division of SEGB. Gas manufacture ceased at Ramsgate works in 1958 and the site became a holder station.
The offices, railed area, depot, adjoining walls and gate for the gasworks in Boundary Road are grade II listed.
During World War One, in November 1917, two bombs hit the gas works, falling between the gas holders and the rear of the office.
The site was bombed again during World War Two, in August 1940, when eight members of staff were lucky enough to survive after taking refuge in an Anderson shelter at the rear of the offices.
In 2007 and application was made to create 96 homes on the site. Some decontamination work took place but then stopped. Demolition and remediation works then took place in 2010 but the site remained undeveloped.